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Faculty Focus: Mita Bhattacharya

By Kyle Russo
Published: September 2010

What is the craze about science teacher Mita Bhattacharya, commonly known and referred to as Ms. B, all about? Well, it starts with her unique childhood in the Himalayas. Born and raised in India, Bhattacharya went to an all girls’ Indian boarding school from age five to 16.
“It was a really fun time, but the teachers were very strict, she said about her experience at bording school. The girls all had to wear the same uniform, which unfortunately included big, puffy bloomers. For those who do not know what bloomers are, they are essentially ugly Shakespearean capri pants.
Besides the bloomers and the strict teachers, Bhattacharya had only good things to say about the school that she spent the majority of her childhood at. She remembers playing rounders, a game similar to baseball, field hockey, and other Indian street games with the other girls.
Different from our public school system, Bhattacharya’s school had a two and a half month winter break because, nestled high among the Himalayas, the school was of course too cold for classes in the winter. Since the school had fewer than 200 kids, Bhattacharya became very close to her fellow classmates and still stays in touch with many of them via Facebook.
Bhattacharya’s love for nature originated from her childhood experience in the beautiful mountain ranges of India. Waking up everyday to a spectacular view of the Himalayas and watching the sunset behind the mountains every night after dinner, she developed a strong connection to nature. She remembers walking around campus and being completely surrounded by trees.
Her predilection for ecology and preservation certainly sprang from these roots. In fact, Bhattacharya was so passionate about ecology and preservation that she came in second place in an ecology essay competition while she was at school.
After boarding school, Bhattacharya enrolled in the University of Calcutta near West Bengal, India. She took her classes at Presidency College, one of the several colleges that are part of the University. There, she pursued her love for ecology and honored in both zoology and botany. After completing her undergraduate courses, she did her post-grad at Ballygonj Science College, which is also close to West Bengal, India.
Her life in India came to an end when she and her husband moved to England, where he continued his career in medicine. A few years later, Bhattacharya and her husband moved to the United States. Her husband found work as a gastroenterology physician and she went to Boston University to get her PhD in science.
She then taught classes at Salem State University. She liked her job there, but felt that the commute was too long. When a friend first suggested the idea of teaching at a high school to her, Bhattacharya was hesitant.
Unsure of what to expect, and afraid that the kids were going to “rip her apart she continued to teach at Salem State, but took on one class here at Newton South to test the waters. She was pleasantly surprised by how motivated the kids at South were and was impressed by their enthusiasm about learning.
The next year, she became a full teacher at South and in her six years here, has “never had any trouble with students. What amazes her most about Newton South is the impressive array of extracurricular activities that students engage in, ranging from sports to newspapers to all sorts of other teams and clubs. Bhattacharya loves working in such an energetic and involved school.
Now that all the facts have been released, it is quite clear that Ms. B truly is the B’s knees.

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